Vegans, vegetarians and keto enthusiasts can rejoice — there’s a new fast-food option in Winnipeg catering to all kinds of diets.
Red River Co-op unveiled the Chopped Leaf last Saturday in its Grant Park Shopping Centre location. The to-go restaurant has a range of chef-inspired bowls, sandwiches, quesadillas, soups and salads. People can design their own salad or choose from a menu.
This is Winnipeg’s first location for the chain, which has more than 100 stores operating or under construction in Canada. There is currently one U.S. location, in the Tacoma, Wash., area. There is a store in Brandon and locations in Ontario and Saskatchewan, as well. The majority of the chain’s outlets are located in Alberta and B.C.
Innovative Food Brands owns the business.
Velika Heathcote manages the new Grant Park restaurant. She and other staff went through shopping centre distributing takeout menus and spreading the word.
"Everyone’s really happy that there is a healthy option available," Heathcote said.
"All the food is fresh. There’s no deli meat or anything like that."
Chopped Leaf founder Blair Stevens created all the dressings for the restaurant, making them a staple to the business, Heathcote said.
People who buy food from the restaurant can get rewards points with a loyalty card. A dollar spent at the restaurant is a point earned, and 150 points nets $10 in purchases.
The company is focused on sustainability, Heathcote said. People can buy water bottles at the Chopped Leaf, and when they bring their bottle in, they’ll get free "Chopped water." Chopped water is infused with different ingredients every two days. Without the bottle, a cup of Chopped water sells for $2.
Heathcote went to the Chopped Leaf in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., to learn about the franchise.
Employees at Red River Co-op knew about the restaurant a year before the place started churning out food. Murray Dehn, vice-president of human resources for Red River Co-op, travelled across the city from his office to have lunch.
"I’m really happy that Chopped Leaf is open," Dehn said over his quinoa bowl with chicken, adding he’ll make the drive to grab lunch every couple of weeks.
The restaurant is a final touch to Red River Co-op’s extensive store makeover. The company has seven other food stores, with three locations in Winnipeg, in addition to its numerous gas bars.